Exhibitionists: Luke Taaffe

Luke Taafe is a graphic designer who has a strong affinity for bright colors and psychedelic patterns. He incorporates that into surf-inspired landscapes that often mix sea and sky into vertigo-inducing fairytales that leave us staring for much longer than we intend to. In this selection, he has some recurring themes that make us wonder about interplanetary relationships, seeing eyes and black holes. But if you’re not in the mood for anything that heavy, just look at the pretty colors. 

1.) Who are your top 3 artistic influencers?

Henri Matisse – colour is really important to my art and he was the master of colour. The vibrant cut-outs of coloured paper in his book ‘Jazz’ is a great example of this. His simplistic approach towards the end of his life showed the world that it doesn’t need to be so complicated.

Emilio Pucci – with an eye for colour and design, the Pucci brand and it’s history in fashion prints is a big influence on me. I feel like his kaleidoscopic use of colour, the swirling psychedelic patterns of the 60’s and clean bold lines have changed the way I look at my work now.

Reg Mombassa – My introduction to art came from this New Zealander’s irreverent designs and art for the surfwear label ‘Mambo’. Being a kid, I was drawn to these designs which were often rude, very colourful and sometimes political (which I didn’t understand, being 10 years old). I used to sketch his characters in coloured pencil whenever I could, but I think it was his excellent use of colour that was a key influence.

2.) Where do you create your art?

I get creative at home in a small studio by the beach in Newport. There’s a lot going outside and around my joint so I try and bring some of that energy into my paintings. My current works are relatively smaller since I swam ashore last year and thats reflective from my current work space.

3.) How much time do you typically spend on each piece?

Depends on the size of the work and how much detail I want to put into it. I like to have a few works on the go to keep it interesting, it’s sometimes nice to sit back on a piece and move on to another. 

4.) What mediums do you work in?

Acrylic paint, spray, indian ink, wood and sometimes resin. I only use brushes in my work.

5.) Do you have any advice for young artists?

Make something and give it away. Nothing better than getting a gift thats been made by someone else. I probably get more satisfaction out of passing on a piece and seeing their reaction than making a bunch of money from a gallery sale.

To see more of Taafe’s work, visit his website: http://luketaaffecreative.com/

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